Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Markotić, Nicole

Keywords

death, defamiliarization, grief, mourning, performative, ritual

Rights

CC-BY-NC-ND

Abstract

"Schrödinger’s Daughter,” explores the societal norms which govern grief and mourning. The project, which is comprised of a series of interconnected short stories and found text prose poems, follows a family dealing with the loss of their patriarch. The narrative is told through the perspective of the three remaining immediate family members: Trista, the deceased’s daughter, acts as primary narrator, while Brigitte, the wife, and Ulisse, the son, act as secondary narrators. Each story weaves together to create a multilayered representation of the public and private grieving process, often reinterpreting events through multiple perspectives, illustrating the varied nature of grief. Through these speculative pieces, I develop a critique of performative cultural practices, such as funerals and wakes, which regulate the way individuals mourn on a public level and how these public practices weave into the private expressions of grief. The accompanying critical essay, “Act ‘Sad’ the Neighbours are Watching: Writing About the Performative Societal and Linguistic Conventions which Govern Death, Grief, and Mourning in Schrödinger’s Daughter,” breaks the critique down into three main avenues: 1) exploring how grief operates as a performative action within societal systems such as the workplace, the neighbourhood, social media, and healthcare; 2) the utilization of elements of magical realism on a macro level (narrative and structure) to create defamiliarization and promote critical reception in an audience; 3) and the utilization of elements of speculative fiction on a micro level (language and metaphor) to compound defamiliarization and reinforce my critical aim.

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